When it comes to lunchtime, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making the same old sandwich day in and day out. But with a little creativity, you can break free from the monotony and enjoy a delicious and satisfying lunch that doesn’t involve bread. In this article, we’ll explore 37 simple lunch ideas that aren’t sandwiches, perfect for taking to work or enjoying at home.
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. Incorporating protein into your lunch is important for maintaining energy levels and preventing the mid-afternoon slump. We’ll discuss some great sources of protein that you can include in your non-sandwich lunches, such as beans, eggs, and chicken.
Salads are a great way to pack in plenty of nutrients and flavour without relying on bread. We’ll explore some creative salad ideas that go beyond the typical lettuce and tomato combination, such as quinoa salad and roasted vegetable salad. Plus, we’ll discuss the importance of incorporating healthy fats into your lunch, and suggest some delicious options like avocado and nuts.
- Non-sandwich lunches can be just as satisfying and delicious as their bread-based counterparts.
- Protein is an important nutrient to include in your lunch to keep you feeling full and energized.
- Salads are a great way to pack in plenty of nutrients and flavour, and healthy fats are an important addition to any lunch.
- Get yourself a decent lunch box that caters for leftovers, salads and pasta etc or a flask for soup.
The Role of Protein in Lunch
Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining good health. It is an important component of every cell in the body and is required for the growth and repair of tissues. When it comes to lunch, including a source of protein is important to keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
Lean Protein Lunch Ideas
Lean protein sources such as chicken, tuna, edamame, and ground meat are excellent choices for lunch. They provide a good amount of protein without adding too much fat or calories to your meal. Chicken salad made with grilled chicken breast, Greek yogurt, and chopped vegetables is a great option for a protein-packed lunch.
Air Fry Chicken Fillets or Chicken Thighs the night before. They don’t take long and you’ve got protein for the week!
We air fried a turkey crown on the Sunday and we had sliced turkey for the whole week. It was so good and is one of my personal favourites.
Tuna is another excellent source of lean protein that can be used in a variety of lunch dishes. It can be made with canned tuna, Greek yogurt, and chopped celery and onion is a simple yet satisfying lunch option. For a more substantial meal, try mixing cooked quinoa, canned tuna, and diced vegetables for a protein-packed salad.
Plant Based Edamame
Edamame is a plant-based protein source that is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. These soybeans are high in protein and provide all the essential amino acids that the body needs. They can be enjoyed on their own as a snack or added to salads and stir-fries for a protein boost.
Ground meat such as beef is another excellent source of protein that can be used in a variety of lunch dishes. Try making a batch of meatballs or burgers and enjoy them throughout the week for a quick and easy lunch option.
In summary, including a source of protein in your lunch is important to keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. Lean protein sources such as chicken, tuna, edamame, and ground meat are excellent choices that provide a good amount of protein without adding too much fat or calories to your meal.
Exploring Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas
For many people, sandwiches are the go-to lunch option. However, eating the same thing every day can get boring quickly. Luckily, there are plenty of non-sandwich lunch ideas that are simple to make and delicious to eat.
One option is sushi. Sushi can be made with a variety of fillings, such as avocado, cucumber, and smoked salmon. It’s also easy to make ahead of time and pack for work.
Another option is fried rice. Fried rice is a great way to use up leftover rice and can be made with a variety of vegetables and proteins. It’s also easy to customise to suit individual tastes.
Quinoa is another great option for a non-sandwich lunch. It’s high in protein and can be used as a base for a variety of salads and bowls. Add in some roasted vegetables, chickpeas, and a delicious dressing, and you have a filling and nutritious lunch.
Lettuce wraps are also a great option for a non-sandwich lunch. They can be filled with a variety of proteins and vegetables, such as chicken, tofu, and carrots. They’re also easy to pack and eat on the go.
Pasta salads are another option for a non-sandwich lunch. They can be made with a variety of pasta shapes and can be customised with different dressings and vegetables. They’re also easy to make ahead of time and pack for work.
Finally, bowls are a great option for a non-sandwich lunch. They can be made with a variety of grains, such as rice or quinoa, and can be topped with a variety of proteins and vegetables. They’re also easy to customise to suit individual tastes.
Overall, there are plenty of non-sandwich lunch ideas that are simple to make and delicious to eat. Whether you’re in the mood for sushi, fried rice, quinoa, lettuce wraps, pasta salads, or bowls of whatever you like, there’s a lunch option out there that’s perfect for you.
The Power of Salads
Salads are a great option for a healthy and filling lunch that is not a sandwich. They are easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time, and are versatile enough to suit any taste. Salads are also a great way to incorporate a variety of vegetables into your diet.
Kale is a popular leafy green that is often used in salads. It is packed with nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron. Kale can be used in a variety of salads, such as a kale Caesar salad or a kale and quinoa salad.
Vegetables are an important part of any salad. They add flavour, texture, and nutrition. Vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, carrot, and bell pepper are all great options. Avocado is another great addition to salads. It is a good source of healthy fats and adds a creamy texture to the salad.
Pasta salad is another option for a non-sandwich lunch. It is easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. A pasta salad can be made with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, cheese, and meat.
Chicken salad is a classic lunch option. It can be made with grilled, roasted or air fried chicken and can be dressed with a variety of dressings such as mayonnaise or vinaigrette.
Soba salad is a Japanese-inspired salad that is made with soba noodles, vegetables, and a dressing made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
Puy Lentil Salad
Puy lentil salad is a healthy and filling option. These lentils are a type of lentil that is high in protein and fibre. They can be mixed with vegetables such as roasted sweet potato, beetroot, and feta cheese.
Overall, salads are a great option for a non-sandwich lunch. They are easy to prepare, versatile, and can be made ahead of time. Incorporating a variety of ingredients such as kale, vegetables, avocado, pasta, chicken, soba noodles, and puy lentils can make for a filling and nutritious meal.
Incorporating Healthy Fats
Adding healthy fats into your lunch can help keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. Some great sources of healthy fats include avocado, hummus, and peanut butter.
Avocado is a versatile ingredient that can be added to salads, wraps, and sandwiches. It is high in monounsaturated fats, which are known to help reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Try adding sliced avocado to a quinoa salad or spreading mashed avocado on a slice of wholegrain toast.
Hummus is a delicious dip made from chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini. It is high in healthy fats and protein, making it a great addition to any lunch. Try dipping raw vegetables or wholegrain crackers in hummus or spreading it on a wrap with sliced turkey and vegetables.
Peanut butter is a classic lunchtime staple that is high in healthy fats and protein. It can be spread on wholegrain bread or used as a dip for apple slices or celery sticks. Look for natural peanut butter that contains no added sugars or preservatives.
Incorporating healthy fats into your lunch is a simple way to boost your nutrition and keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. Try adding avocado, hummus, or peanut butter to your next lunch for a tasty and nutritious meal.
Fun with Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a great way to add variety, nutrition, and colour to your lunch. Here are some simple ideas that can be easily prepared and packed for work:
- Bananas: A banana is a great snack on its own, but it can also be paired with nut butter or yogurt for added protein. Cut up a banana and add it to a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt for a delicious and filling breakfast.
- Vegetables: Raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes are perfect for snacking. Try dipping them in hummus or guacamole for a flavourful twist. For a heartier meal, roast a variety of vegetables like sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini, and add them to a bed of quinoa or brown rice.
- Avocado: Avocado is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways. Mash it and spread it on toast, mix it into a salad, or make a delicious guacamole to dip your vegetables in. For a quick and easy lunch, slice an avocado in half, remove the pit, and fill it with your favourite salad ingredients.
- Cucumber: Cucumber is a refreshing and hydrating vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways. Slice it up and add it to a salad or sandwich, or make cucumber boats by scooping out the seeds and filling them with hummus or tuna salad.
By adding fruits and vegetables into your lunch, you can add flavour, nutrition, and variety to your meals. Plus, they are easy to prepare and pack for work, making them the perfect choice for busy weekdays.
The Versatility of Wraps
Wraps are a great alternative to sandwiches for lunch. They are versatile and can be filled with a variety of ingredients to suit any taste. Here are some ideas for delicious wrap fillings:
Chicken Caesar Wrap: Fill a wrap with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing.
Veggie and Hummus Wrap: Spread hummus on a wrap, then add sliced cucumber, red pepper, avocado, and spinach leaves.
BLT Wrap: Fill a wrap with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise for a classic lunchtime favourite.
Turkey and Cranberry Wrap: Spread cranberry sauce on a wrap, then add sliced turkey, stuffing, and spinach leaves.
Greek Wrap: Fill a wrap with grilled chicken, feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, and tzatziki sauce.
For a low-carb option, try using lettuce leaves instead of wraps. Simply fill a large lettuce leaf with your favourite filling, wrap it up, and enjoy.
Wraps are also a great way to use up leftovers. For example, you can use leftover roast beef or chicken to make a delicious wrap. Just add some lettuce, tomato, and your favourite sauce for a quick and easy lunch.
The Benefits of Beans
Beans, such as black beans, butter beans, black-eyed beans, chickpeas, and edamame, are a great addition to any lunch. They are packed with nutrients and offer a variety of health benefits.
Beans are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. For example, black beans can be added to salads, soups, and chilli, while chickpeas can be used to make hummus or added to curries. Edamame can be enjoyed as a snack or added to stir-fries.
Easy to Make Lunch Ideas
When it comes to preparing lunch for work, it can be easy to fall into the trap of making the same sandwich day after day. However, there are plenty of other easy-to-make lunch ideas that can be just as satisfying and delicious.
One option is to make a big batch of soup in your soup maker at the weekend and portion it out for the week ahead. This can be a great way to get in lots of vegetables and protein, and it can be easily reheated in the microwave at work.
Another idea is to make a big salad with lots of different toppings. This can be as simple as throwing together some mixed greens, chopped vegetables, and a protein source such as grilled chicken or tofu. To keep the salad from getting soggy, pack the dressing separately and add it just before eating.
For those who prefer something warm, a baked potato can be a great option. Simply microwave a potato until it is cooked through, then top it with your favourite toppings such as cheese, beans, or chilli.
Leftovers can also make for an easy and tasty lunch. If you’re making dinner the night before, consider making a little extra and bringing it to work the next day. This can be a great way to save time and money, and it can also help reduce food waste.
The Role of Grains in Lunch
Grains are an essential component of a healthy lunch as they provide the body with the necessary carbohydrates, fibre, and other nutrients to keep one going throughout the day.
Brown rice is a great option as it is a complex carbohydrate that is loaded with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It is also a low glycemic index food, which means it releases energy slowly, keeping one feeling full for longer periods.
Quinoa one of my personal favourites is another excellent grain that is packed with protein, fibre, and other essential nutrients. It is also gluten-free, making it a perfect option for those with gluten sensitivities. Quinoa is versatile and can be used in a variety of lunch recipes, including salads, bowls, and wraps.
Incorporating grains into lunch can be as simple as making a batch of brown rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week and using it as a base for various lunch recipes. For example, a quinoa salad with roasted vegetables, avocado, and a lemon vinaigrette is a delicious and nutritious lunch option that can be made ahead of time and packed for work.
Additionally, grains can be used as a filling for wraps or as a side dish for protein-rich mains. For instance, a brown rice and black bean bowl with grilled chicken and salsa is a satisfying and flavourful lunch that is easy to prepare.
The Use of Salsa in Lunch
Salsa is a versatile condiment that can be used to add flavour and nutrition to a variety of lunch dishes. It is a mixture of chopped vegetables, herbs, and spices, usually including tomatoes, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and cilantro. Salsa is low in calories and fat, making it a healthy addition to any lunch.
One way to use salsa in lunch is to add it to a salad. A simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers can be transformed into a flavourful and satisfying meal with the addition of a few spoonfuls of salsa. The acidity of the tomatoes and the heat of the chili peppers in the salsa will complement the crispness of the greens and the sweetness of the cucumbers.
Another way to use salsa in lunch is to use it as a dip for vegetables. Raw carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes make a great snack when dipped in salsa. This is a healthy and tasty alternative to chips and dip.
Salsa can also be used as a topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Simply bake a potato in the microwave or oven, and then top it with a spoonful of salsa. This is a quick and easy lunch that is both filling and nutritious.